Delivering agile ways of working by migrating the DVSA's Testing & Registration System away from a legacy data centre and onto the cloud with AWS.
The DVSA’s vision is for safer drivers, safer vehicles and safer journeys for everyone in the UK. Road safety is paramount in everything the agency does, as well as being able to deliver excellent customer experiences and value for money for its services.
In pursuit of its vision, the DVSA has recognised the need to adopt agile ways of working to reduce costs and improve efficiency. However, a significant hurdle was identified within its IT infrastructure, that meant the agency was unable to change and respond quickly enough to the demands of the modern age.
“Our digital, data and technology infrastructure plays a vital role in helping everyone stay safe on Britain’s roads. Moving our national driving test services from legacy outsource contracts based on physical hosting, to modern digital platforms hosted in the Cloud means we can respond quickly to changing demands and deploy changes more frequently. The migration of the entire service to the public Cloud was time critical. Using BJSS Enterprise Agile, its expertise in Cloud and open source and their collaboration with our legacy supplier ensured a seamless transition of the service."
Alex Fiddes Digital Services & Technology Programme Delivery Executive, DVSA
Modernising the DVSA's Testing & Registration System
The DVSA’s business-critical Testing and Registration System (TARS) comprises a suite of applications and utilities that enable staff to manage Driving Test Centres, Driving Examiners, driving tests, staff deployments, Candidates and the processing of results for theory and practical tests.
The system was housed on a physical server infrastructure base made up of end-of-life SPARC systems. This was a costly service for the agency that did not align with other DVSA Cloud-native systems, allow DVSA to be agile, create new services, introduce changes, or conform to the Government’s Digital Service guidelines of Cloud-native and Open Source solutions.
There was, therefore, a critical need to migrate the TARS from the physical data centre to an AWS platform. However, this migration posed some significant challenges and required a technology specialist with the necessary credentials and experience to execute the project within tight timescales.
An AWS Well-Architected Partner With A History of Award-Winning Deliveries
Having been recognised by the IT Service Management Community (itSMF UK) for delivering the 'Service Transformation Project of 2016' to the DVSA and with a historical involvement of AWS platform architecture and engineering on other DVSA Digital Programmes, BJSS was selected to conduct the AWS migration project for the agency. BJSS has been involved with a number of Cloud-based projects with the DVSA, including; Roadside Payments, Vehicle Operators and Licensing, and the modernisation of their multiple award-winning, GDS exemplar MOT Digital Service.
BJSS, an official ‘AWS Well-Architected Partner', has been instrumental in helping the DVSA to drive down costs and increase efficiencies by integrating Agile and DevOps ways of working, and pioneering the use of Cloud technology within the department. These engagements gave the DVSA the confidence that BJSS was able to perform the migration within the tight timescales.
A solution built on best in class AWS offerings
BJSS was responsible for:
The migration of the legacy database solution on Oracle RDBMS to an AWS RDS service.
Reducing 500GB of onsite data to 240GB after the migration by pulling data logically and reorganising it into a ‘fresh’ database, using the AWS DMS service.
Designing and utilising AWS offerings for components such as MQ solutions, e-mail, NFS capability and in-memory caching to overcome the challenges surrounding the legacy applications.
Leveraging Cloud capabilities for security, scalability, reliability and resilience.
The incorporation of an infrastructure-as-code based architecture to ensure consistent, repeatable and testable infrastructure change.
Designing and implementing a ‘path to live’ delivery pipeline, utilising replicable production-like environments for all stages of testing and assurance.
A Reliable And Stable Service
The migrated system went live in November 2018, ahead of the project deadline, enabling DVSA to exit the costly datacentre contract. Since the migration, the agency has enjoyed a reliable and stable service, boosting user satisfaction rates. In addition, the DVSA has been able to adopt agile ways of working and the system is well-positioned to support the integration demands of other in-flight Digital Delivery Programmes.
The DVSA interfaces with numerous other government department systems and is required to change quickly in line with any other system alterations. Through AWS and agile practices, it is now able to adapt to changing requirements and priorities at pace, resulting in significant time savings.
Due to the successful delivery, BJSS has been retained by DVSA to provide a continuous improvement service for of the TARS AWS platform, with a roadmap to deliver simplification of the architecture taking advantage of native AWS services, which will result in further cost savings for the agency.